May 24, 2015

Travelog: Gunung Ledang National park

On 22nd of May, the four of us went to Gunung Ledang National Park for a hike. This would be the last hiking practice before going to Kinabalu early next month. The day before that, Syahrul and I went to SportDirect KSL to buy some hiking gear. I bought a trekking pole and a knee guard because my right knee is still sore from climbing the hateful Nuang. Asif had called the National Park ranger and booked for a 1-day hike. Initially we wanted to go there on Sunday but considering Monday is not a holiday it would give us less time to recuperate afterwards. So we chose to go there on Friday. Baru berkat sikit.

We departed from Perling around 4.30 am. Amir volunteered to be the first designated driver that morning not in the sense that he is the only sober person in the car, but he is the only one who was awake. We arrived in Tangkak and stopped at a mosque for Subuh prayer. Seeing that we had spare time to kill, we stayed for a while and listened to the kuliah subuh before finding our breakfast. After some light breakfast, we continued on to find the Gunung Ledang National Park. 

There are six National Parks in Johor. Gunung Ledang is one of the more popular sites for hikers to go to and it is the 6th hardest Malaysian mountain to climb. Relatively, Gunung Kinabalu is the 13th and Gunung Tahan is the 1st. With the peak at 1276m tall, it can be reached from more than one trail. There is a trail from Melaka, called the Asahan trail. That is the oldest known trail of Gunung Ledang. There is also a trail from a dam nearby called the Empangan trail and the one that we went through is called the Lagenda trail. Lagenda trail can be reached by going through a palm plantation (see picture above) or by going to the Gunung Ledang Resort. In the former, you will arrive to the Gunung Ledang Park Office for registration and briefing.

A part of registration procedure involved declaring number of possessions that we will be bring up the mountain. Everything has to be recorded such as every piece of clothing, number of canned or bottled drinks, how many sweets, biscuits, etc. Because we use a guide service, he was responsible for making sure we do not litter in the national park so we did not have to pay the rubbish declaration deposit. After that we gathered around for a briefing about the hike and did a checklist of the essential items that we need to bring before we started to climb. Essential items include:
  • Fluids (I brought 3L of water)
  • Flashlight
  • Poncho
  • Waterproof case for electronic gadgets
  • Basic first aid (analgesic cream, bandages, etc.)
  • Small towel (really helped me to wipe the never-ending pour of sweat from my face)
  • Kain pelikat or a picnic mat (there is small site for praying up in the mountain) 

That is Fairuz, our guide. After the briefing, we did warming up, took our lunchbox (included in the package) from the cafe and began hiking at 8.30 am. There is a number of checkpoints we have to go across and two main routes to follow later in the trail. The first route is the easy one, called Pedita trail. The other one is what makes Gunung Ledang the 6th hardest - the K.F.C trail (stands for Killer For Climber). To know whether we were able to tackle KFC depends on the time arrival at the T junction of Pedita trail. And to that we had to be there by 10.30 am.

  • Tangga Mahligai and Bukit Semput - initial climb consists of 700+ steps of stairs, making you quite breathless at the end (semput). 
  • Hentian Meranti - named because of Meranti trees. They are recognizable by their square pattern tree bark.
  • Batu Orkid - Gunung Ledang is the only habitat for a species of orchid called Orkid Selipar. Unfortunately I did not see any orchid on my way up there.

Between Batu Orkid and Simpang Pedita there is a junction called Simpang Bukit Satu Dua. In the map above, all white trails lead to camp site and waterfall while the red trails are the hiking ones. We stopped for a short break at every checkpoint.

We arrived at Simpang Pedita roughly between 10.30 - 10.45 am. By that time half of us were in fatigue and started to feel muscle cramps and pain. We were given options from there on - whether to tackle to KFC route or just use the easier Pedita route. The guide Fairuz explained about the differences between the two in terms of what to expect, the conditions of the routes, and the time taken to reach the peak. By hook or by crook we have to reach the peak before 2.30 pm. After a discussion we decided that as a group we were not fit enough to go though the KFC trail.

I would like to think that there is no shame in not being able to take the KFC route. There is a lot more important thing to consider aside from the bruised ego. Safety, for one, and the realization of our own limit is another. Maybe when we are fit enough, sure, but not now. Plus we had a really good time climbing Ledang so far I would hate it to turn sour upon facing further fatigue and pain when climbing KFC.

These are orchid plants. That's what I've been told. 

A Bonsai tree.

More Bonsai trees. 

How to recognize Kacip Fatimah? The leaves have two colours - green upfront and purple at the back.

Kem Senget is the water point where there is a small stream for filling up the water bottles and to take ablution before a prayer. We stopped for a jama' taqdim + qasar on the way down.

Naturally formed garam bukit. 

This picture proves that even a big belly can climb a mountain. Only 76m to go!

The last hurdle consists of 50m or so of rock climbing with 10 set of steel ladders.

And at last,


Sampai-sampai puncak terus cari batu nak lepak kepenatan. Fuuh.

Down there is Asahan, Melaka.

Those who use KFC trail will reach the peak from here.

That is Telekom tower. Looks like a place from Silent Hill, isn't it?

We arrived at the peak at 12.50 pm, had our lunch and rested there for 40 minutes or so. After that we climbed down using the same trail as we decided to go to a waterfall later on. On the way down, it started to rain but it was a light rain so it was fine.

We arrived at the waterfall around 5 pm or so. Apa lagi, kaki pun dahnak tercabut, so main air la jawabnya.

Overall it was a great experience and much better than Nuang. The trail is clean with no litter to be found at all. Kudos to Taman Negara staff for their management. Another thing, we were the only people who went there that day. That's why you see that we had the whole mountain to ourselves. The guide said that yesterday (Saturday) will be full house as more than 150 people will come and go hiking. It was a lucky thing to go there on a Friday. He also said that from our fitness and stamina we will have no problem hiking Mount Kinabalu. That is one great news!

To conclude, I would really recommend hiking Gunung Ledang. Despite fatigue and the building pain from my right knee, I really enjoyed it. Clean trail, great scenary, and straightforward route - there's nothing much you can ask aside from that!


  1. Salam. Can advise the difference between gunung ledang and gunung kinabalu in term of difficulties intensity/level?

  2. How your Kinabalu trip? Want to read your experience at the highest peak of Malaysia..